Overview

My doctoral research focuses on designing, creating, and controlling complex DNA-based mechanisms. Using recently developed DNA origami technology, we follow a traditional machine design approach to design and fabricate mechanical devices on the scale of typical biomolecular machinery (~1-100nm). We have developed methods for tuning the dynamics and controlling conformational changes on minute timescales. Analysis of our mechanisms utilizes electron microscopy, ensemble fluorescence, and single molecule fluorescence imaging. More information about each project is available at the links below:

DNA-based nanomachine design:

We are developing novel approaches to design dynamic and controllable DNA nanostructures by applying engineering approaches used to make macroscopic machines to the world of DNA-based design. This project focuses on building modular mechanically functional components with constrained motion and controllable mechanical properties to ultimately build complex mechanisms and machines.

Controlling motion of DNA nanomachines:

Using our dynamic DNA origami devices, we are developing methods to control rotational and linear motion of simple and complex mechanisms. Our triggered actuation methods raise opportunities for DNA-based devices to be used for deployment, delivery, and sensing.

Directed assembly of DNA origami mechanisms:

A focus on the assembly of topologically complex structures, specifically with concentric components, where post-folding assembly is not feasible. We exploit the ability to direct folding pathways to program the sequence of assembly and present a novel approach of designing the strand topology of intermediate folding states to program the topology of the final structure. The ability to program the sequence and control orientation and topology of multi-component DNA origami nanostructures provides a foundation for a new class of structures with internal and external moving parts and complex scaffold topology.

 

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